The effect of night, of any flowing water, of lighted cities, of the peep of day, of ships, of the open ocean, calls up in the mind an army of anonymous desires and pleasures. Something, we feel, should happen; we know not what, yet we proceed in quest of it.
Robert Louis Stevenson - A Gossip on Romance (1882)
An effect of the coronavirus debacle has been to stamp out a wider view of life and death and our hunger for meaning. It has stifled an army of anonymous desires and pleasures. To some extent it has verged on stamping out our sense of self, our individuality, our history, interests, hopes and fears.
Obviously not entirely stamped out by any means, but significantly perhaps. Enough to wonder about the less tangible harm it has caused. Life goes on, but something seems to have been sucked out of it and rendered it more mechanical, more routine.
It gives considerable support to those who feel that listening to the clamour of the public arena is not really worth the effort. It takes too much from real life.